Skip to content

Grilled brined halibut

Monday, February 12, 2018

As is the case with many recipes, this is more about the technique than the actual meal (although this is a great recipe as-is). It can be used for many varieties of fish. Don’t turn up your nose at the idea of mayonnaise: you won’t taste it in the finished dish, and for once your fish won’t stick to the grill.

15 minutes, plus brining and refrigerating time for the fillets
Serves 6

Note: This recipe requires the use of a kitchen scale. Opal basil is available at select gourmet and farmers markets.

Brined halibut
50 grams salt (scant 1/4 cup)
600 grams water (generous 2-1/4 cups)
400 grams ice cubes (scant 4 cups)
3 pounds center-cut skinless halibut fillet
1/4 cup mayonnaise


Combine salt and water in a large mixing bowl and stir to dissolve the salt. Add ice. Set the brine aside while you prepare the fish.

Cut the fish into 2-1/2-inch wide by 1-inch thick strips along the length of the fillet. (After brining, you’ll cut the fish into cooking portions). Be sure to use the sharpest knife in the drawer for this and work slowly and carefully. Remove the blood line from the skin side of the fillets. Place the fillets in the brine and leave for 1 hour.

Remove the fish from the brine, dip briefly in salt-free ice water and dry it thoroughly with paper towels. Lay the fillets out flat on parchment-lined baking sheets and refrigerate, unwrapped, for a minimum of 4 hours.

Cut the fillets into 5- to 6-ounce portions, and prepare as you wish.

To grill the halibut, heat the grill over medium-high heat until hot and clean it well with a wire brush. Brush both sides of the fish with a very thin coating of mayonnaise and sprinkle with salt, if desired.

Just before putting the fish on the grill, wipe down the grate with an old rag that has been briefly dipped in cooking oil. Place the fish on the grill and, after a minute or so, turn the fillets at a 45-degree angle to mark them. After another minute, flip the fillets. Cook for 2 more minutes. The flesh should yield to gentle pressure when pressed (you can also use a cake tester to test the doneness of the fillet; when the fish is properly cooked, a cake tester will pass through with only gentle resistance).

Remove the fish to rest, preferably on a rack, for 5 minutes before serving.

Tomato salad
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
6 tablespoons sherry vinegar
1 pinch sugar
Salt and pepper to taste
1 small clove garlic, green germ removed, finely minced
1-1/4 cups extra virgin olive oil
1 pound haricots vert (French green beans), stem ends trimmed
1 pound various varieties of tomatoes (try for a mix of types, sizes and colors)
Maldon salt, or other coarse sea salt
1 shallot, finely minced
15 large green basil leaves, cut in 1/4-inch ribbons
15 large opal basil leaves, cut in 1/4-inch ribbons (or substitute more green basil leaves)
1/2 bunch flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped
25 tarragon leaves, snipped with scissors

Prepare the vinaigrette. Place the mustard, vinegar, sugar, salt, pepper and garlic in a mason jar. Place the lid on the jar and give it a good shake. This will dissolve the salt and the sugar. Remove the cap, add the oil, replace the cap and shake again. This will yield about 1-1/3 cups of creamy, well-emulsified vinaigrette, more than will be required for the recipe (the remainder can be stored tightly covered in the refrigerator for at least 1 week).

Blanch the green beans briefly in a large pot of rapidly boiling salted water and cook just until the color brightens, about 1 minute. Remove to a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking, then drain and pat dry.

Slice the tomatoes and arrange them on a large serving platter. Depending on the shape of the tomatoes, you may want to cut some into wedges and others may look better sliced. Season the tomatoes with Maldon salt and a few turns of freshly milled black pepper. Sprinkle the tomatoes with the chopped shallots and distribute half the green and opal basil, parsley and tarragon evenly over the tomatoes. This should be done one-half hour before you are ready to serve your guests.

Just before the fish is ready, shake the vinaigrette again to re-emulsify, and drizzle one-fourth of it over the tomatoes. Place the cooked and drained haricots vert in a mixing bowl and toss them with enough vinaigrette to coat them well and season with salt and pepper. Scatter a layer of beans over the tomatoes.

Place the grilled halibut on top of the tomatoes and the beans. Drizzle the halibut with more vinaigrette and scatter over the remainder of the dressed beans. Distribute the remaining herbs over it all. Pass the remaining vinaigrette at the table.

This recipe is from the LA Times Food Section.


Jerk-style Spice Rub

Monday, February 12, 2018
tags: , ,

Note: If you can’t find whole allspice berries, substitute 2 teaspoons of ground allspice. Garlic powder may be used instead of granulated garlic. Omit salt if dry brining*.

Makes about ¼ cup – enough for 5 pounds of meat.


1 tablespoon allspice berries
1 tablespoon black peppercorns
1½ teaspoons dried thyme
2 tablespoons packed brown sugar
2 teaspoons granulated garlic
1½ teaspoons dry mustard
1½ teaspoon kosher salt
¾ teaspoon cayenne pepper (or more to taste)


Toast allspice and peppercorns in a dry skillet until aromatic. Grind in a spice grinder with thyme until coarse. Transfer to a bowl and stir in sugar, garlic powder, mustard, salt (if using), and cayenne.


*“Dry brining” is salting meat in advance, much like the “koshering” process. It avoids the mess and mushy result of wet brining. Use ½ teaspoon kosher salt per pound of meat. Sprinkle on both sides of meat and refrigerate for 12 (or at least two) hours. Pat dry, then apply spice rub. (Google will explain the science if you want to know more.)

Pork Rub

Friday, December 15, 2017

¾ cup kosher salt
¾ cup turbinado sugar
½ cup dry mustard powder
¼ cup smoked paprika
4 Tbsp dehydrated garlic
6 Tbsp dehydrated onion
6 Tbsp ancho chili powder
2 Tbsp ground cumin
2 Tbsp ground black pepper
2 Tbsp cayenne pepper
4 Tbsp coriander


Mix all ingredients thoroughly. Store in a mason jar or airtight container and keep in a cool dark place.

Tater Tot Casserole (Hotdish)

Monday, November 13, 2017

Several years ago it was my turn to bring dinner to a church function. I was running late (and out of ideas), so I asked a friend. She suggested a classic — good old Minnesota Hotdish. Being a Californian, I’d never heard of it, but I made it. Everyone loved it — especially the kids, who requested that I make it each time it was my turn to cook. My friend wouldn’t approve of this version, since she stressed that there were no acceptable variations to this recipe. Regardless, I’m posting it for the mushroom sauce component alone.


Tater Tot Hotdish
Tater Tot Hotdish

YIELD: Serves 6
ACTIVE TIME: 45 minutes
TOTAL TIME: 3 hours

For the Mushroom Sauce:
• 5 cups (570g) button mushrooms, washed, dried, and quartered
• 2 tablespoons (30ml) extra-virgin olive oil
• 12 sprigs thyme, divided
• Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
• 2 1/4 cups (450g) whole milk
• 1/2 onion (125g), peeled and roughly chopped
• 2 cloves (8g) garlic, smashed
• 2 tablespoons (28g) unsalted butter
• 3 tablespoons (25g) flour

For the Ground Beef:
• 1 tablespoon (15ml) vegetable oil
• 1 pound (454g) 90% lean ground beef
• 1 small (250g) onion, diced
• 2 cloves (8g) garlic, finely minced
• 1 tablespoon (8g) all-purpose flour
• 3/4 cup (180ml) chicken stock, either homemade or low-sodium store-bought
• 3/4 cup (100g) frozen or fresh peas
• 3/4 cup (100g) frozen or fresh corn kernels
• 1/4 cup (30g) chopped parsley
• 1/4 cup (30g) chopped chives
• 1 tablespoon (15g) Dijon mustard
• 2 teaspoons (10ml) Worcestershire sauce
• To Finish:
• 1 pound (454g) Tater Tots, frozen or homemade
• Ketchup, for serving

For the Mushroom Sauce

Adjust oven rack to center position and preheat oven to 350°F (180°C). In a large bowl, toss mushrooms with olive oil and 6 sprigs thyme, then season with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. Spread seasoned mushrooms on a foil-lined rimmed baking sheet. Bake until deeply browned, about 45 minutes. Discard thyme sprigs and increase oven temperature to 375°F (190°C).

In a medium saucepot, combine roasted mushrooms with 6 remaining thyme sprigs, milk, onion, and garlic and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and steep, covered, for 1 hour. Strain, pressing gently on the solids.

Wipe out pot and return to stovetop. Melt butter over medium heat until foaming subsides, then add flour and mix into a paste. Continue cooking until raw flour smell is gone, about 5 minutes. Whisking constantly, add mushroom-infused milk in a thin, steady stream, or in increments of a couple of tablespoons at a time, whisking thoroughly and getting into all corners of the pot to maintain a homogeneous texture. Sauce will initially become very thick, then get very thin once all milk is added.

Heat, stirring, until sauce comes to a simmer and begins to thicken slightly, about 10 minutes. Reduce heat to low and cook, stirring, until sauce is thick enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon, about 3 minutes. Season to taste with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper.

For the Ground Beef

In a large skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add ground beef and break up into crumbles with a whisk or potato masher. Cook until well browned, 5 to 10 minutes. Drain off any excess fat, leaving only about 1 tablespoon (15ml) in skillet along with meat.

Reduce heat to medium, add onion and garlic to ground meat, and cook for about 2 minutes. Add flour and cook an additional minute, until blond. Add chicken stock and simmer until thickened, about 3 minutes.

Remove from heat and finish ground beef mixture with peas, corn, parsley, chives, Dijon, and Worcestershire. Season to taste with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. Scrape meat mixture into a 2-quart baking dish.

To Finish

Top meat with mushroom sauce and arrange Tater Tots on top. Bake for 30 minutes, or until Tater Tots are crispy and golden brown. Serve with squiggles of ketchup. (Note: I hate ketchup, so I’d add squiggles of sriracha for me, or plain with condiments on the side for people to add themselves.)

(from For a Better Tater Tot Casserole, Start From Scratch)

Sriracha Butter

Sunday, October 29, 2017

If you aren’t going to need this much, make half.

1 cup Sriracha
Juice of 1 large lime
1 tsp salt
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1 cup butter, melted

Blend Sriracha, lime juice, salt, and sugar until combined, then slowly add melted butter in a steady stream. Store in an airtight container for up to 1 week.

Olive Tapenade Tart Soliel

Sunday, October 22, 2017

If you’ve been reading my blog, you know I love Smitten Kitchen. It is my favorite food blog and is as much a pleasure to visit for the writing as it is for the recipes. When I wanted to make something special to bring to the memorial for my sister-in-law, this is where I looked. […]

via Olive Tapenade Tart Soleil — dianne faw

All-purpose BBQ Rub and Seasoning

Monday, September 18, 2017

This is just an idea, a starting point. Omit, add, change for your own preference and purpose. There’s no limit. But keep track of your ingredients and amounts, because if you hit on the perfect combination, you want to be able to replicate it next time.

For dry-brining, omit salt from mix.

For a sweet rub add 1 part turbinado (raw) sugar.


4 parts kosher salt
4 parts paprika
2 parts garlic powder
2 parts onion powder

1 part dry mustard
1 part ground cayenne
1 part black pepper
1 part ground coriander
1 part ground cumin


Mix thoroughly to combine. Store in airtight container.